The longest palindrome I've ever seen, written in 1984 with the help of a computer by Dan Hoey. A variation on the popular "Panama" palindromes. Not a very cool one, because computers can't write poetry.

A man, a plan, a caret, a ban, a myriad, a sum, a lac, a liar, a hoop, a pint, a catalpa, a gas, an oil, a bird, a yell, a vat, a caw, a pax, a wag, a tax, a nay, a ram, a cap, a yam, a gay, a tsar, a wall, a car, a luger, a ward, a bin, a woman, a vassal, a wolf, a tuna, a nit, a pall, a fret, a watt, a bay, a daub, a tan, a cab, a datum, a gall, a hat, a fag, a zap, a say, a jaw, a lay, a wet, a gallop, a tug, a trot, a trap, a tram, a torr, a caper, a top, a tonk, a toll, a ball, a fair, a sax, a minim, a tenor, a bass, a passer, a capital, a rut, an amen, a ted, a cabal, a tang, a sun, an ass, a maw, a sag, a jam, a dam, a sub, a salt, an axon, a sail, an ad, a wadi, a radian, a room, a rood, a rip, a tad, a pariah, a revel, a reel, a reed, a pool, a plug, a pin, a peek, a parabola, a dog, a pat, a cud, a nu, a fan, a pal, a rum, a nod, an eta, a lag, an eel, a batik, a mug, a mot, a nap, a maxim, a mood, a leek, a grub, a gob, a gel, a drab, a citadel, a total, a cedar, a tap, a gag, a rat, a manor, a bar, a gal, a cola, a pap, a yaw, a tab, a raj, a gab, a nag, a pagan, a bag, a jar, a bat, a way, a papa, a local, a gar, a baron, a mat, a rag, a gap, a tar, a decal, a tot, a led, a tic, a bard, a leg, a bog, a burg, a keel, a doom, a mix, a map, an atom, a gum, a kit, a baleen, a gala, a ten, a don, a mural, a pan, a faun, a ducat, a pagoda, a lob, a rap, a keep, a nip, a gulp, a loop, a deer, a leer, a lever, a hair, a pad, a tapir, a door, a moor, an aid, a raid, a wad, an alias, an ox, an atlas, a bus, a madam, a jag, a saw, a mass, an anus, a gnat, a lab, a cadet, an em, a natural, a tip, a caress, a pass, a baronet, a minimax, a sari, a fall, a ballot, a knot, a pot, a rep, a carrot, a mart, a part, a tort, a gut, a poll, a gateway, a law, a jay, a sap, a zag, a fat, a hall, a gamut, a dab, a can, a tabu, a day, a batt, a waterfall, a patina, a nut, a flow, a lass, a van, a mow, a nib, a draw, a regular, a call, a war, a stay, a gam, a yap, a cam, a ray, an ax, a tag, a wax, a paw, a cat, a valley, a drib, a lion, a saga, a plat, a catnip, a pooh, a rail, a calamus, a dairyman, a bater, a canal - Panama!

I think I have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome now.

Able was I ere I saw Elba: a widespread palindrome attributed to Napoleon but obviously this great Frenchman had better things to do on Elba than compose foreign language palindromes.

Degas,
Are we not drawn onward,
We freer few,
Drawn onward
To new eras aged?

Shelly
I was really bored one day, so I was messing around with my sound card, recording my voice and then reversing the waveform backwards and playing it back, when I discovered that the sarcastic inflection of the phrase "Yeah, right!" when played backwards is *exactly* the same sound as what is heard when played forewards (it still says "Yeah, right!" either way). I've never heard of this before, but the best way I could describe it is as a "phonic palindrome". I made sure I was reversing the waveform, and tried it on other phrases which were easily garbled when reversed, but each time I tried "Yeah, right!" again, it was always the same backwards or forewards.


Here's the complete list of reversible words from the /usr/dict/words file on Linux - I couldn't find any opposites.
Here's the quick and dirty source code I wrote. You can use it to try to find any in your native language. It's not very elegant, but it works. I didn't want to spend a lot of time on it. I spent more time making this node than writing it :)

Be sure to resize the MAX_WORDS define to be larger or equal to the number of words you will be sorting through.

#include <stdio.h>
#include <string.h>

#define MAX_WORDS 65536

char *words[MAX_WORDS];
char *revwords[MAX_WORDS];

void stripcrlf(char *s){
  int n;
  for(n=0;s[n];n++){
    if(s[n]==13 || s[n]==10){
      s[n]=0;
      break;
    }
  }
}

char *str_reverse(char *text){
  int g,t,n;
  char c;
  g=(t=strlen(text)-1)/2;
  for(n=0;n<=g;n++){
    c=text[n];
    text[n]=text[t-n];
    text[t-n]=c;
  }
  return text;
}

int main(){
  char text[4096];
  long numwords=0;
  int x,y;
  while(fgets(text,4096,stdin)){
    stripcrlf(text);
    if(text[0] && text[0] >= 'a' && text[0] <= 'z'){
      if(words[numwords]=strdup(text)){
        if(revwords[numwords]=strdup(text)){
          str_reverse(revwords[numwords]);
        }else{
          fprintf(stderr,"strdup error\n");
          exit(1);
        }
      }else{
        fprintf(stderr,"strdup error\n");
        exit(1);
      }
      numwords++;
    }
  }
  for(x=0;x<numwords;x++){
    for(y=x+1;y<numwords;y++){
      if(!strcmp(words[x],revwords[y])){
        printf("%s %s\n",words[x],words[y]);
      }
    }
  }
}

Sorry, jafuser, I couln't resist rewriting your code as a perl one liner:

perl -ne 'chop;$w{reverse $_}=$_;print "$_\t$w{$_}\n" if $w{$_}'
Palindrome
by Georges Perec.
Transcribed from La clôture et autre poèmes,
Hachette/Collection P.O.L., 1980.
This palindrome contains 1247 words, and over 7600 characters.

Trace l'inégal palindrome. Neige. Bagatelle, dira Hercule. Le brut repentir, cet écrit ne Perec. L'arc lu pèse trop, lis à vice-versa. Perte. Cerise d'une vérité banale, le Malstrom, Alep, mort édulcore, crêpe porte de ce désir brise d'un iota. Livre si aboli, tes sacres ont éreinte, cor cruel, nos albatros. Être las, autel bâti, miette vice- versa du jeu que fit, nacre, médical, le sélénite relaps, ellipsoïdal. Ivre il bat, la turbine bat, l'isole me ravale: le verre si obéi du Pernod--eh, port su!--obsédante sonate teintée d'ivresse. Ce rêve se mit--peste!--a blaguer. Beh! L'art sec n'a si peu qu'algèbre s'élabore de l'or évalue. Idiome étire, hésite, bâtard replie, l'os nu. Si, a la gêne secrète-- verbe nul a l'instar de cinq occis--, rets amincis, drailles inégales, il, avatar espace, caresse ce noir Belzébuth, oeil offense, tire! L'écho fit (a désert): Salut, sang, robe et été. Fièvres. Adam, rauque; il écrit: Abrupt ogre, eh, cercueil, l'avenir tu, effile, génial a la rue (murmure sud eu ne tire vaseline séparée; l'epeire gelée rode: Hep, mortel?) lia ta balafre native. Litige. Regagner (et ne m'...). Ressac. Il frémit, se sape, na! Eh, cavale! Timide, il nia ce sursaut. Hasard repu, tel, le magicien a morte me lit. Un ignare le rapsode, lacs ému, mixa, mêla: Hep, Oceano Nox, o, béchamel azur! Éjaculer! Topaze! Le cèdre, malabar faible, Arsinoé le macule, mante ivre, glauque, pis, l'air atone (sic). Art sournois: si, médicinale, l'autre glace (Melba?) l'un? N'alertai ni pollen (retêter: gerce, repu, dente...) ni tobacco. Tu, désir, brio rime, eh, prolixe nécrophore, tu ferres l'avenir velu, ocre, cromant-ne? Rage, l'ara. Veuglaire. Sedan, tes elzévirs t'obsèdent. Romain? Exact. Et Nemrod selle ses Samson! Et nier teocalli? Cave canem (car ce nu trop minois -- rembuscade d'éruptives a babil-- admonesta, fil accru, Têtebleu! qu'Ariane évitât net. Attention, ébénier factice, ressorti du réel. Ci-gît. Alpaga, gnome, le héros se lamente, trompe, chocolat: ce laid totem, ord, nil aplati, rituel biscornu; ce sacre bedeau (quel bat ce Jésus!). Palace piège, Torpédo drue si a fellah tôt ne peut ni le Big a ruer bézef. L'eugéniste en rut consuma d'art son épi d'éolienne ici rot (eh... rut?). Toi, d'idem gin, élèvera, élu, bifocal, l'ithos et notre pathos a la hauteur de sec salamalec? Élucider. Ion éclate: Elle? Tenu. Etna but (item mal famé), degré vide, julep: macédoine d'axiomes, sac semé d'École, véniel, ah, le verbe enivre (ne sucer ni arrêter, eh ça jamais!) lu n'abolira le hasard? Nu, ottoman a écho, l'art su, oh, tara zéro, belle Déborah, o, sacre! Pute, vertubleu, qualité si vertu a la part tarife (décalitres?) et nul n'a lu trop s'il séria de ce basilic Iseut. Il a prie bonzes, Samaritain, Tora, vilains monstres (idolâtre DNA en sus) rêves, évapores: Arbalète (bêtes) en noce du Tell ivre-mort, émeri tu: O, trapu a elfe, il lie l'os, il lia jérémiade lucide. Pétard! Rate ta reinette, bigleur cruel, non a ce lot! Si, farcis-toi dito le coeur! Lied a monstre velu, ange ni bête, sec a pseudo délire: Tsarine (sellée, la), Cid, Arètin, abruti de Ninive, Déjanire. . . Le Phénix, eve de sables, écarte, ne peut égarer racines radiales en mana: l'Oubli, fétiche en argile. Foudre. Prix: Île de la Gorgone en roc, et, o, Licorne écartelée, Sirène, rumb a bannir a ma (Red n'osa) nière de mimosa: Paysage d'Ourcq ocre sous ive d'écale; Volcan. Roc: tarot cele du Père. Livres. Silene bavard, replie sur sa nullité (nu a je) belge: ipséité banale. L' (eh, ça!) hydromel a ri, psaltérion. Errée Lorelei... Fi! Marmelade devire d'Aladine. D'or, Noël: crèche (l'an ici taverne gelée des bol...) a santon givre, fi!, cule de l'âne vairon. Lapalisse élu, gnoses sans orgueil (écru, sale, sec). Saluts: angiome. T'es si crâneur! . . . Rue. Narcisse! Témoignas-tu! l'ascèse, la, sur ce lieu gros, nasses ongulées... S'il a pal, noria vénale de Lucifer, vignot nasal (obsédée, le genre vaticinal), eh, Cercle, on rode, nid a la dérive, Dédale (M. . . !) ramifie? Le rôle erre, noir, et la spirale mord, y hache l'élan abêti: Espiègle (béjaune) Till: un as ruse. Il perdra. Va bene. Lis, servile repu d'électorat, cornac, Lovelace. De visu, oser? Coq cru, o, Degas, y'a pas, o mime, de rein a sonder: a marin nabab, murène risée. Le trace en roc, ilote corneen. O, grog, ale d'élixir perdu, o, féligrane! Eh, cite, fil bu! O! l'anamnèse, lai d'arsenic, arréragé tué, pénétra ce sel-base de Vexin. Eh, pèlerin a (Je: devin inédit) urbanité radicale (elle s'en ira...), stérile, dodu. Espaces (été bine? gnaule?) verts. Nomade, il rue, ocelot. Idiot-sic rafistole: canon! Leur cruel gibet te niera, têtard rate, pédicule d'aime rejailli. Soleil lie, fléau, partout ire (Métro, Mer, Ville...) tu deconnes. Été: bétel a brasero. Pavese versus Neandertal! O, diserts noms ni a Livarot ni a Tir! Amassez. N'obéir. Pali, tu es ici: lis abécédaires, lis portulan: l'un te sert-il? A ce défi rattrapa l'autre? Vise-t-il auquel but rêve tu perças? Oh, arobe d'ellébore, Zarathoustra! L'ohcean a mot (Toundra? Sahel?) a ri: Lob a nul si a ma jachère, terrain récuse, nervi, née brève l'haleine véloce de mes casse-moix a (Deni, o!) décampe. Lu, je diverge de ma flamme titubante: une telle (étal, ce noir édicule cela mal) ascèse drue tua, ha, l'As. Oh, taper! Tontes! Oh, tillac, o, fibule a rêve l'Énigme (d'idiot tu) rhétoricienne. Il, OEdipe, Nostradamus nocturne et, si ne Guelfe, zebreur a Gibelin tue (pentothal?), le faiseur d'ode protége. Ipéca...: lapsus. Eject a bleu qu'aède berça sec. Un roc si bleu! Tir. ital.: palindrome tôt dialectal. Oc? Oh, cep mort et ne, mal essore, hele. Mon gag aplati gicle. Érudit rosserecit, ça freine, benoît, net. Ta tentative en air auquel bête, turc, califat se (nom d'Ali-Baba!) sévit, pure de -- d'ac? -- submersion importune, crac, menace, vacilla, co-étreinte... Nos masses, elles dorment? Etc... Axe ni a mort-ne des bots. Rivez! Les Etna de Serial-Guevara l'égarent. N'amorcer coulevrine. Valser. Réfuter. Oh, porc en exil (Orphée), miroir brise du toc cabotin et ne du Perec: Regret éternel. L'opiniâtre. L'annulable. Mec, Alger tua élan ici démission. Ru ostracise, notarial, si peu qu'Alger, Viêt-Nam (élu caméléon!), Israël, Biafra, bal a merde: celez, apôtre Luc a Jeruzalem, ah ce boxon! On a écopé, ha, le maximum Escale d'os, pare le rang inutile. Métromane ici gamelle, tu perdras. Ah, tu as ruse! Cain! Lied imite la vache (a ne pas estimer) (flic assermente, rengage) régit. Il évita, nerf a la bataille trompe. Hé, dorée, l'Égérie pelée râpé, sénile, sa vérité nue du sérum: rumeur a la laine, gel, if, feutrine, val, crèche, ergot, pur, Bâtir ce lieu qu'Armada serve: if etete, éborgnas-tu l'astre sédatif? Oh, celerites! Nef! Folie! Oh, tubez! Le brio ne cessera, ce cap sera ta valise; l'age: ni sel-liard (sic) ni master-(sic)-coq, ni cédrats, ni la lune brève. Terce, sénégalais, un soleil perdra ta bêtise héritée (Moi-Dieu, la vérole!) Déroba le serbe glauque, pis, ancestral, hébreu (Galba et Septime- Severe). Cesser, vide et nie. Tétanos. Etna des boustrophédon répudie. Boiser. Revele l'avare melo, s'il t'a beni, brutal tablier vil. Adios. Pilles, pale rétine, le sel, l'acide mercanti. Feu que Judas rêve, civette imitable, tu as alerte, sort a blason, leur croc. Et nier et n'oser. Casse-t-il, o, baiser vil? A toi, nu désir brisé, décédé, trope perce, roc lu. Détrompe la. Morts: l'Âme, l'Élan abêti, revenu. Désire ce trépas rêve: Ci va! S'il porte, sépulcral, ce repentir, cet écrit ne perturbe le lucre: Haridelle, ta gabegie ne mord ni la plage ni l'écart.

Since I don't know french, I decided to have a go translating it using babelfish; here are the first few lines

Trace the inegal palindrome. Snows. Trifle, will say Hercules. Rough repentance, this writing Perec. The arc read pese too, read has vice versa. Loss. Cherry of a banal verite, the Maelstrom, Alep, dead edulcorates, crepe carries of this desire breaks of a iota. Deliver if abolished, your sacrings have ereinte, cruel horn, our albatrosses. To be tired, furnace bridge bati, crumb vice versa of the play which made, mother-of-pearl, medical, the selenite relaps, ellipsoidal. Drunk it beats, the turbine beats, insulates it plasters me: glass if obei of Pernod -- eh, port su! -- obsedante sonata teintee of intoxication.
...
Dennis, Nell, Edna, Leon, Nedra, Anita, Rolf, Nora, Alice, Carol, Leo, Jane, Reed, Dena, Dale, Basil, Rae, Penny, Lana, Dave, Denny, Lena, Ida, Bernadette, Ben, Ray, Lila, Nina, Jo, Ira, Mara, Sara, Mario, Jan, Ina, Lily, Arne, Bette, Dan, Reba, Diane, Lynn, Ed, Eva, Dana, Lynne, Pearl, Isabel, Ada, Ned, Dee, Rena, Joel, Lora, Cecil, Aaron, Flora, Tina, Arden, Noel and Ellen sinned.

Naughty folks.

Palindromes are ancient. One that was written on fountains in Greece was this:

NI{PS}ON ANOMÊMATA MÊ MONAN O{PS}IN

This means "wash my sins, not just my face". It's a palindrome in Greek because the {PS} is the single letter psi.

The Romans had a clever one:

IN GIRUM IMUS NOCTE ET CONSUMIMUR IGNI

"Into the circle we go by night and are consumed by fire" -- which they said about moths.

In English they go on and on:

Straw? No, too stupid a fad; I put soot on warts.
Campus motto: Bottoms up, Mac
Are we not drawn onward, we few, drawn onward to new era?
etc etc

I prefer palindromes that actually make sense and are grammatically correct. Here are a few more:

Al lets Della call Ed "Stella".
A nut for a jar of tuna
Cain: A maniac
Do geese see God?
I maim nine men in Miami.
Ma has a ham.
Ma is as selfless as I am.
Marge lets Norah see Sharon's telegram.
Murder for a jar of red rum
Naomi, did I moan?
Ned, go gag Ogden.
Never odd or even
Niagara, O roar again!
Pull up if I pull up.
Was it a car or a cat I saw?

and my favorite...

Nurse! I spy gypsies! Run!

Palindrome is a character in skits performed by the singing cowboy group, Riders in the Sky, and played by group member Too Slim. His "real" name is Otto Bob Otto, and he only speaks in palindromes. The theme song for the skit is a parody of the theme to the old Western TV series, Have Gun, Will Travel, whose protagonist went by the moniker of Paladin.

Example dialogue:

Woman: (played by another Rider, in falsetto) Oh, Palindrome, I brought you some of my special Chinese soup!
Palindrome: Wonton? Not now!

Bar Patron: Why does that gunslinger have two heads?
Palindrome: Neil, an alien.

Woman: Oh, Palindrome, do you think you'll ever be on TV?
Palindrome: I, madam, I made radio. So I dared--am I mad, am I?

Also, a nucleic acid sequence whose 5'-to-3' sequence is identical on each DNA strand. The sequence is the same when one strand is read left to right and the other strand is read right to left. Recognition sites of many restriction enzymes are palindromic.

Based on work I did for the BioTech Dictionary at http://biotech.icmb.utexas.edu/. For further information see the BioTech homenode.

Pal"in*drome (?), n. [Gr. running back again; again + to run: cf. F. palindrome.]

A word, verse, or sentence, that is the same when read backward or forward; as, madam; Hannah; or Lewd did I live, & evil I did dwel.

 

© Webster 1913.

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